Archives For Jimi Williams

At first glance, if all you knew about Hillsong was from listening to their recordings or attending a concert, you might think that Hillsong is just a successful record label and publisher. It’s true they are hugely successful, launching worldwide church anthems such as Mighty To Save, Salvation Is Here and Forever Reign.

But at the heart, Hillsong is a local church and all their creative endeavors are a product of the ministry that happens at their home in Sydney, Australia. After spending the week “down under” with Hillsong, it’s obvious that everything they do flows out of the ministry. Every conversation about songs leads back to an experience or a particular ministry need at the church. All the worship leaders and musicians are serving weekly in various ways throughout the church.

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I had a conversation after our service at church last Sunday about picking worship songs. It was a good talk and it made me think a bit about how we as worship leaders choose songs to sing.

I came up with the following 4 things that I think will help:

1. Lyrics must be Scripturally accurate.We can’t assume that just because we trust the writer or the publisher that the song is true. We are all prone to error or miscommunication. Also, words sometimes mean different things to different people. You as the worship leader must make sure that what you are asking your church to sing is clear and in-line with the Gospel.

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Displacement

Jimi Williams —  June 29, 2010

Displacement is one of those scientific principles we learned in high school. It’s the reason your full bath overflows when you get in it. Or the reason a ship will float. But this week I learned another application for this principle that really impacted me.

The example used was a glass of clear clean water. The speaker took the glass of water and began to pour various things into it like mustard, vinegar, hot sauce, etc. Each item represented a sin that we could fall into: anger, envy, lust, greed, etc. And as he poured each item into the glass, it forced a little more of the clean water out until eventually all that was left was a nasty cocktail full of all these “sins”.

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As worship leaders, we often ask the question “How do we measure success?”. This question is more easily answered by a retail store or a mechanic than by a ministry leader. It can be hard to get your arms around the metrics that should be used to measure success. Is it how many people show up on Sunday morning? Is it how many people have their arms raised in worship or say “good job” when you are done?

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Worship teams take on endless configurations depending on church size, stage size, vision and other considerations. If you use a full band, then you probably have a basic rhythm section of guitar, bass, keys and drums.

However, it gets more interesting when you start talking about singers. Your “singer structure” can vary, but probably falls into one of these categories:

1. “The Crowder” – In this structure the leader does all the singing except for the occasional shout out from one of the other band members. You can also chat back and forth with your band mate between songs “Letterman/Shaffer” style. If it’s a guy leader, then all the dudes sing with him and the girls have to either screech out an octave above him or make something up on the fly. This is generally considered the coolest structure.

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Sing to the Lord a New Song

Jimi Williams —  October 29, 2009

Recently I received an interesting question for an upcoming panel discussion:

What is and is not the “new song” referred to in Isaiah 42:10 and Psalm 96:1?

Interesting question. I’ve heard many worship leaders quoting these Scriptures, mostly before they introduce a new song to the congregation. However, digging a little deeper into these verses reveals that there’s something deeper being said.

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Magnify!

Jimi Williams —  August 3, 2009

“O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together.” Psalm 34:2-4.

I confess up front that I lifted this thought from my pastor in a message he gave yesterday. But it was so encouraging to me, I thought it worth the shame to share it!

The word “magnify” in this verse is the Hebrew word “gadal”, which means to grow or make greater. Now on first look, it would appear that the psalmist is encouraging us to “grow” the LORD or make him bigger than He is.

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I was reading through the first couple chapters of Nehemiah today and realized how many great leadership lessons there are to learn from our Biblical contractor.

1. Nehemiah had a passion for people first, church second. It says in chapter 1 verse 2 that Nehemiah questioned Hanani about the Jewish remnant that survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem. In ministry, we often get these two things reversed. We have a passion first for our ministry and second for the people. This often leads to “using” our flock to accomplish our ministry goals.

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One of the most challenging Scriptures in the Epistles is Galatians 1:10 when Paul says, “Am I now trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Paul is writing in the context of preaching the full Gospel. Parts of the Gospel message were offensive to listeners. And it required great courage for him to preach the whole Gospel and not just the parts that were easy to swallow.

As a servant of Christ, we are called to please one person – Jesus Christ.

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Holy Discontentment

Jimi Williams —  April 17, 2009

God will never settle for anything but the best for us. Our human nature is to latch on to something good and predictable and ride it as long as we can: a great worship experience, an intimate small group, a safe and easy Christian life.

But God is on the move and if we want to ride with him, we must move as well. As C.S. Lewis wrote, “He is no tame lion”. In the story The Last Battle, King Tirian makes the statement, “Let us push ahead and see what adventure awaits us.” That should be every Christian’s attitude…

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